Charles Baudelaire

(9 April 1821 – 31 August 1867 / Paris)

La Pipe (The Pipe) - Poem by Charles Baudelaire

Je suis la pipe d'un auteur;
On voit, à contempler ma mine
D'Abyssinienne ou de Cafrine,
Que mon maître est un grand fumeur.

Quand il est comblé de douleur,
Je fume comme la chaumine
Où se prépare la cuisine
Pour le retour du laboureur.

J'enlace et je berce son âme
Dans le réseau mobile et bleu
Qui monte de ma bouche en feu,

Et je roule un puissant dictame
Qui charme son coeur et guérit
De ses fatigues son esprit.

The Pipe

I am the pipe of an author;
One sees by my color,
Abyssinian or Kaffir,
That my master's a great smoker.

When he is laden with sorrow,
I smoke like a cottage
Where they are preparing dinner
For the return of the ploughman.

I clasp and lull his soul
In the wavy blue web
That rises from my fiery mouth.

I give forth clouds of dittany
That warm his heart and cure
His mind of its fatigue.


— Translated by William Aggeler

The Author's Pipe

I am an author's pipe. To see me
And my outlandish shape to heed,
You'd know my master was a dreamy
Inveterate smoker of the weed.

When be is loaded down with care,
I like a stove will smoke and burn
Wherein the supper they prepare
Against the labourer's return.

I nurse his spirit with my charm
Swaying it in a soft, uncertain,
And vaguely-moving azure curtain.

I roll a potent cloud of balm
To lull his spirit into rest
And cure the sorrows in his breast.


— Translated by Roy Campbell

A Poet's Pipe

A poet's pipe am I,
And my Abyssinian tint
Is an unmistakable hint
That he lays me not often by.
When his soul is with grief o'erworn
I smoke like the cottage where
They are cooking the evening fare
For the laborer's return.

I enfold and cradle his soul
In the vapors moving and blue
That mount from my fiery mouth;
And there is power in my bowl
To charm his spirit and soothe,
And heal his weariness too.

Translated by Richard Herne Shepherd

The Pipe

I am an author's pipe;
From examining my Abyssinian
Or Kaffir countenance, one sees
That my master is a great smoker.

When he is laden with sorrow,
I smoke like a cottage
When the cooking is being prepared
Against the laborer's return

I entwine and I cradle his soul
In the drifting, blue film
That climbs from my fiery mouth,

And I turn a powerful balm
Which charms his heart and heals
His spirit of fatigues.


— Translated by Geoffrey Wagner


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010



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